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Exceptional preservation of a Late Cretaceous dinosaur nesting site from Mongolia reveals colonial nesting behavior in a non-avian theropod

Kohei Tanaka, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Darla K. Zelenitsky, Francois Therrien, Yuong-Nam Lee, Rinchen Barsbold, Katsuhiro Kubota, Hang-Jae Lee, Tsogtbaatar Chinzorig and Damdinsuren Idersaikhan
Exceptional preservation of a Late Cretaceous dinosaur nesting site from Mongolia reveals colonial nesting behavior in a non-avian theropod
Geology (Boulder) (July 2019) 47 (9): 843-847

Abstract

Colonial nesting behavior has been inferred in a variety of non-avian dinosaurs based on high concentrations of nests preserved in an area, but sedimentologic and taphonomic evidence demonstrating the contemporaneity of the nests is often lacking. A new nesting site discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Javkhlant Formation of the eastern Gobi Desert, Mongolia, preserves at least 15 egg clutches laid by a probable non-avian theropod, and provides strong evidence for colonial nesting in a non-avian dinosaur. The occurrence of the clutches at the top of a common paleosurface, the distribution of eggshell fragments within clutches, the presence of a consistent two-layer sediment infill within eggs, and a thin marker lithologic unit blanketing all the clutches indicate the clutches were laid and hatched in a single nesting season. Despite the absence of sedimentologic evidence indicative of nest structure, statistical analyses of egg characteristics and facies association reveal the clutches were likely incubated in covered or buried nests. Based on the number of hatched clutches, the hatching success rate of the colony was high (60%), similar to that of extant crocodylian populations and bird species that attend and/or protect their nests during the incubation period, which indicates nest attendance behavior in the Javkhlant theropods. Thus, colonial nesting with parental attendance, widespread in extant birds, likely evolved initially among non-brooding, non-avian dinosaurs to increase nesting success.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 47
Serial Issue: 9
Title: Exceptional preservation of a Late Cretaceous dinosaur nesting site from Mongolia reveals colonial nesting behavior in a non-avian theropod
Affiliation: University of Tsukuba, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Tsukuba, Japan
Pages: 843-847
Published: 20190705
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2019-065635
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2019307
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N44°23'60" - N44°23'60", E109°20'60" - E109°20'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Hokkaido University Museum, JPN, JapanUniversity of Calgary, CAN, CanadaRoyal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, CAN, CanadaSeoul National University, KOR, South KoreaMongolian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Paleontology and Geology, MNG, MongoliaMuseum of Nature and Human Activities, JPN, JapanKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, KOR, South Korea
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201934
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